To compel the federal government to divulge any remaining documents relating to the most enigmatic assassination of a U.S. president over 60 years ago, the nation’s largest online repository of JFK assassination data has filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and the National Archives.
One year after Biden issued a memo delayed the release of a final cache of 16,000 records compiled under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which Congress passed without opposition in response to Oliver Stone’s Oscar-nominated film “JFK,” the Mary Ferrell Foundation filed the federal lawsuit on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump delayed the release and passed the buck to Vice President Joe Biden, who critics claim continued the policy of federal obfuscation that has been in place since Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in an open motorcade at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. The JFK records act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton, required that the documents be made public by October 26, 2017.
Jefferson Morley, vice president of the nonpartisan Mary Ferrell Foundation and an authority on the assassination and the CIA, declared that “it’s about time the government got its act together and respected the spirit and the letter of the law.”
JFK Facts blog contributor Morley stated, “This is about our past and our right to know it.
Fellow historians, proponents of open government, and even some Kennedy family members—who typically don’t remark on the assassination—agree with Morley’s view.
“It was a grave offense against American democracy. The son and namesake of JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy Jr., stated that the American people had a right to know. “The release of the records is required by law. It’s strange. My uncle passed away about 60 years ago. What do they have to hide?
The majority of experts feel that there is almost definitely no concrete evidence that others were involved in the assassination of Kennedy in addition to alleged shooter Lee Harvey Oswald among the papers that have not been made public or that have been substantially redacted.
They claim that the records would shed more light on a crucial era in American history connected to JFK’s presidency and assassination, including Cold War operations by American intelligence agents, U.S.-Cuba relations and the assassination plot against dictator Fidel Castro, and the campaign against the Mafia led by then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed five years after his brother.
The CIA has repeatedly covered up contacts with Oswald while Kennedy was still alive, according to experts like Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA agent who is critical of the agency and has given lectures about JFK’s assassination at Harvard University. The secret documents, however, may also reveal something potentially more sinister: CIA contacts with Oswald while Kennedy was still alive.
In a nutshell, Oswald was allegedly lured into a rogue CIA scheme, according to Mowatt-Larssen. After the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of three, four, or five rogues decided their goal was to assassinate Kennedy because they believed it was their patriotic duty in light of the threat facing the nation at the time and their views, which were more virulently anti-communist and extremely extreme politically.
The CIA said in a statement to NBC News that it is abiding with the JFK Records Act and Biden’s message, which demanded that the materials be made public by December 15. The organization in charge of the JFK papers, the National Archives and Records Administration, likewise declared that it complies with the law and the steps Biden stated.
However, the lawsuit claims that the federal agencies haven’t complied with the law and that both Biden’s executive order and Trump’s earlier delay violated the 1992 statute, opening up new gaps and opening the door for further unjustified postponements after 60 years of obscurity. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco.
In order to release the information as intended by Congress 30 years ago, the lawsuit requests that the judge invalidate Biden’s directive. The coronavirus epidemic was cited as the reason for the disclosure process’s delay in Biden’s memo, but Bill Simpich, the foundation’s lawyer, refuted this claim.
Simpich referred to the dispute as “the dog ate my homework.” The main issue in this scenario is delay. The agencies constantly have newer, stronger justifications.
The lawsuit is required, according to the foundation, since agencies haven’t made significant strides toward complying with the JFK Records Act’s fundamental disclosure requirements in the year since the letter was published.
The 16,000 documents are some of the most sensitive JFK assassination-related records. According to Morley’s figure, the CIA is in charge of roughly 70% of them, followed by the FBI, which is in charge of about 23% of the records.
A 1961 memo to reorganize the CIA after the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, personnel files of three CIA officers connected to Lee Harvey Oswald, a 1962 Defense Department “false flag” plan to stage a “violent incident” in the United States that would be blamed on Cuba, records relating to the Castro assassination plot, and a JFK document removed from Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt’s security file are among the records the lawsuit claims the federal government
Additionally, the foundation is requesting that the National Archives locate any records that are “known to exist but are not a part of the JFK Collection.”
One of those records, according to the lawsuit, relates to George Joannides, who acted as the case officer for a New Orleans-based CIA-funded exile group that had a number of interactions with Lee Oswald in 1963 and was the CIA’s chief of covert action at the Miami station. The CIA is charged in the case with improperly obstructing access to Joannides-related materials at the National Archives.
Another request made in the complaint is for the court to order the release of audio recordings made by Carlos Marcello, who is believed to have admitted to a cellmate that he was responsible for JFK’s murder. The foundation wants to hear the tapes in order to “completely evaluate the validity and relevance of these conversations,” despite the transcripts of the conversations already existing. Marcello passed away in 1993.
The foundation claims that the timing of the lawsuit is related to Trump’s legal battle with the Justice Department and the National Archives over classified records. The National Archives, an organization that is rarely in the news, is now playing a crucial part in the investigation of records kept at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida after he left office.
Trump detractor and JFK assassination historian David Talbot argued there is irony in both situations.
They chose to criticize Trump over this matter because he is a political adversary, but they are also in violation of the JFK Records Act: According to Talbot, author of “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years” and “The Devil’s Chessboard,” who has written about the development of the national security state, “Trump took documents that the federal government owned, but they’re sitting on documents that belong to the American people.”
Trump’s spokesman chose not to respond to questions.
The Warren Commission’s contested 1964 finding that Oswald was a lone wolf and the agencies’ stalling, according to Talbot, have further increased the public’s mistrust of the government.
The most prevalent conspiracy theory in the nation is that Oswald did not act alone, according to research and polls by University of Miami political science professor Joseph E. Uscinski, an expert on conspiracy theories.
Uscinski said he was cautious to link a lack of trust in the government to the denial of access to the JFK archives, but he maintained that the federal government is largely to blame.
The whole debate over documents is pointless. The CIA is mistaken. It’s unfortunate that the administration hasn’t done so yet since all of information ought to have been made public a long time ago,’ Uscinski added. However, there isn’t a document that states, “We did it,” that is kept in a government vault.